Wednesday, June 29, 2016

THE COBRA'S PROMISE






Pic.: Anima D'Cunha


Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found very effective – was telling a nice story in two tenses… the Present and the Past. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people, who were earnest about improving their English, with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and, then, tell it to someone!

This old story dramatically describes as to what happens if we do not learn to be assertive in life… if we do not stand for our rights…




THE COBRA’S PROMISE


PAST:

There lived a Swami in a village temple. People from the village came there to pray. On the way to this temple, there was a large banyan tree, under which, in a hole, lived a cobra, peacefully.

One evening, while the children were playing around the tree, one of them stamped on the snake-hole. The cobra, in his self-defense, attacked the child. The poison quickly spread in child’s body and he died.

A panic spread through the village. “A poisonous cobra lives on the way to temple... He attacks every one,” people started spreading the rumor across the village. Soon, they stopped venturing out of their houses, and the temple looked deserted.

The worried Swami went out into the village to find out as to why no one visited the temple. When people explained to him what had happened, he went to talk to the cobra. He was a holy-man and was blessed with the power to talk to animals and snakes. So, on reaching the spot, he asked the cobra, “My friend, why did you kill that child? People are, now, sacred to come out of their houses... Promise me, that you won’t bite anyone, anymore.”

The faithful cobra, with great respect to the holy-man, immediately gave the promise.

Now, the word went around in the village saying that the Swami, with his power, had taken away the poison from the cobra and turned the snake docile... that, the creature was now helpless and harmless...

So, one by one, the people from the village came out of their houses... and went about their routine work. When they came near the tree, they saw the cobra lying there, coiled up... looking defeated. Some teased him, some abused him, some spat on him and some kicked him. Some children held him by his tail and dragged him all around... and, some tossed him in the air... But, in spite of all this, the cobra did not react. He kept his promise...

Some days later, when Swami was passing by the tree, he saw the cobra in a horrible condition. “What have you done to yourself, my friend?” he asked in disbelief.

“Sir, you had asked me not to bite,” the battered and bruised snake complained to Swami, “now look, what they have done to me!”

‘You fool, yes, I did tell you not to bite,” the Swami screamed at the cobra angrily, “But, did I ever tell you not to hiss?”


PRESENT:

There lives a Swami in a village temple. People from the village come there to pray. On the way to this temple, there is a large banyan tree, under which, in a hole, lives a cobra, peacefully.

One evening, while the children are playing around the tree, one of them stamps on the snake-hole. The cobra, in his self-defense, attacks the child. The poison quickly spreads in child’s body and he dies.

A panic spreads through the village. “A poisonous cobra lives on the way to temple... He attacks every one,” people start spreading the rumor across the village. Soon, they stop venturing out of their houses, and the temple looks deserted.


The worried Swami goes out into the village to find out as to why no one visits the temple. When people explain to him what has happened, he goes to talk to the cobra. He is a holy-man and is blessed with the power to talk to animals and snakes. So, on reaching the spot, he asks the cobra, “My friend, why did you kill that child? People are, now, sacred to come out of their houses... Promise me, that you won’t bite anyone, anymore.”

The faithful cobra, with great respect to the holy-man, immediately gives the promise.

Now, the word goes around in the village saying that the Swami, with his power, has taken away the poison from the cobra and turned the snake docile... That, the creature is, now, helpless and harmless...

So, one by one, the people from the village come out of their houses... and go about their routine work. When they come near the tree, they see the cobra lying there, coiled up... looking defeated. Some tease him, some abuse him, some spit on him and some kick him. Some children hold him by his tail and drag him all around... and, some toss him in the air... But, in spite of all this, the cobra does not react. He keeps his promise...

Some days later, when Swami is passing by the tree, he sees the cobra in a horrible condition. “What have you done to yourself, my friend?” he asks in disbelief.

“Sir, you had asked me not to bite,” the battered and bruised snake complains to the holy-man, “now look, what they have done to me!”

‘You fool, yes, I did tell you not to bite,” the Swami screams at the cobra angrily, “But, did I ever tell you not to hiss?”


GERALD D’CUNHA

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